Holidays to me are all about traditions, family and fun. For Easter, we have always featured ham and much prefer the whole ham, unsliced. The hams that are not pre-sliced are much more juicy and prettier to stud with cloves and a yummy glaze. I like to use homemade jelly of most any kind of fruit mixed with honey and dry or prepared mustard--it is simple but so flavorful. The proportions do not seem to matter, I always use about 3 parts jelly to 1 part honey and about a Tablespoon of prepared mustard and only about a teaspoon of dry mustard.
On Saturday afternoon, I love to make caramel cinnamon rolls with lots of delicious caramel baked into them and oozing over the top when turned out of the baking pan. I am sharing my favorite recipe with you.
A bountiful fresh fruit bowl made of all kinds of berries, fresh pineapple, bananas, watermelon, and other melons if available seems to be a critical necessity and a harken of spring.
The rest of the menu is pretty simple--almost always asparagus and sometimes scalloped potatoes--however the rolls are so filling, the potatoes do not seem to be so important.
A fancy coconut cake either made in layers or in the shape of a bunny fills out our brunch.
Oaxaca is really in the news. Last Thursday, the New York Times featured a travel story on Oaxaca and this Sunday--the featured 36 hours story was on Oaxaca. When you get the time, open the New York Times website and select travel, then select Oaxaca--they have numerous stories that you may like. Our pre-registration is nearing--April 5 is the day we have set for pre-registration to end. We still have a few openings. Join us now!
OUTRAGEOUS CARAMEL PECAN STICKY ROLLS
This rich, moist dough is just perfect for any favorite cinnamon roll you might like to make. You can make traditional cinnamon rolls like the recipe directs with the caramel and pecans on the bottom or you can make a ring by keeping the dough uncut until you have joined the long roll of stuffed dough together into a ring. Then transfer the ring of dough to a very well greased baking sheet that is big enough to allow the ring to be round. Make slashes ¾ of the way deep into the stuffed dough and then pull each cut section and fan it out, making an attractive ring of cinnamon rolls.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Temperature: 375 F
Baking Time: 25 to 30 minutes
1 package or 1 scant Tablespoon active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
¾ cup warmed milk (30 seconds in a microwave oven)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ½ cups to 5 cups all purpose flour, stirring the flour to fluff, then spooning into a dry measuring cup
Caramel Pecan Filling:
½ cup melted butter, divided
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed, divided
¾ cup pecan halves, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and about half of the flour. Mix using a dough hook until a soft dough results. Continue to add flour about ½ cup at a time until a firm dough results. Place on lightly floured board and knead to develop the gluten. When well kneaded, the dough should be firm and satiny and a small pinch of dough when pulled apart result in strings.
2. Place the mixing bowl over dough and let rise until doubled. When dough has doubled, roll into a rectangle about 15 by 9 inches. Spread with ¼ cup of the melted butter allowing about a 1 inch margin with no butter on the far side of the longest side, placing the remaining butter in the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the dough. placing the remaining sugar evenly sprinkled across the butter. Place half the pecans over the dough and the remaining half over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon. Roll the dough lengthwise and seal together by pinching the long edge tightly. Cut into 15 to 16 slices and place on top of the butter sugar mixture.
3. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place and allow to double in bulk, then place in a preheated oven to bake until lightly golden. Immediately turn out of pan onto a platter and scoop out the remaining caramel over the top of the rolls. Enjoy the finger licking fun!